Frequent moves are one of the greatest challenges the military community faces. Known as permanent changes of station (PCS), not only can they be stressful, but the moves often cause significant financial concerns. So it should come as no surprise that approximately half of the complaints the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) receives from veterans and servicemembers relate to issues such as mortgages and foreclosures, according to Military Times.
Complaints don't tell the whole story
The figures come from an analysis of data by the CFPB's Office of Servicemember Affairs and revealed that more than 3,400 complaints received in 2012 were from troops, their family members or veterans. While that comprises just about 4 percent of the total complaints received, officials say the issues could be particularly troubling for troops. Specifically, servicemembers have to move more regularly than the civilian population, which means problems relating to mortgages, loans and other payments could have a greater impact on them. Still, Holly Petraeus, the assistant director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs, says more analysis is needed to know exactly what these findings mean.
"I'd like to have more complaints in there before we start drawing conclusions," she told the publication. "With more complaints, maybe their profile won't be the same."
Increasing legislative efforts
Over the last several years there has been an increasing effort on the part of lawmakers to ensure that predatory lenders are less capable of targeting servicemembers who may already be struggling financially. In fact, Petraeus was recently making the rounds to speak to troops about the importance of vigilance when it comes to these unscrupulous practices. In April, she spoke at Fort Bliss in Texas to discuss the role financial security plays in readiness reports CBS affiliate KENS.
"It's a readiness issue," she told the gathered crowd. "The number one cause for servicemembers losing their security clearance is for financial reasons."
More than just mortgages
While mortgages complaints topped the list, the analysis revealed some other interesting findings regarding what is causing troops the greatest financial issues. Approximately 20 percent related to concerns surrounding credit cards while 4 percent related to student loans. Officials say that about 10 percent of these complaints resulted in troops receiving some form of financial assistance.